Singled Out: The Mission
I came up with the title first, had that lying around for a little while before I started writing songs for the new Mission album. A fair few of my songs come that way – title first – then I let the idea ferment.
This particular title probably came from either something I read or maybe a line from a film or something, I can't really remember. A lot of my lyrical ideas come like that and I either jot them down in a little notebook I carry around with me or, if there's no one watching, I use my Dictaphone which is always in my pocket. I hear, see, or read a word or a phrase and it will provoke a train of thought that can sometimes lead to a song or just be a line in a song. There are no rules.
I sit and strum an acoustic guitar whilst watching TV a lot, which drives my wife mad, and a lot of my musical ideas come that way, almost unconsciously. If it's a good idea then I'll play it into my Dictaphone for future reference. I must have 100's of doodles…
I came up with the chords for STBLCFTDP after listening to a Neil Young with Crazy Horse album, can't remember which one now. Playing the chords was a really satisfying feeling and the melody came easily and quickly. Looking through my lyrical ideas notebook this particular phrase fitted perfectly for the chorus and hence also became the title. I then came up with the first two lines of the first verse and the song suddenly had a meter with which I could work. I ended up writing 6 or 7 verses on first draft, which were eventually whittled down to 4 when we started rehearsing the song. I know I was still finalising the lyrics as I was recording the vocal. I'm a firm believer that a song is at it's most potent when it's first written and you're singing and playing it for the first few times. After that it becomes rehearsed and can lose its potency.
And it's not because I'm precious or even lazy but I don't generally like to explain the lyrics to my songs. Like a lot of writers I prefer the listener to make up their own mind and take from the song what they themselves want. If I tell you what I think the song means that may well colour your own interpretation. And just because I wrote the song it doesn't necessarily mean I'm right.
I wanted the recording of this to be as live as possible in the studio, which, apart from the finished vocal and a couple of guitar and percussion overdubs, it is. I think the new Mission album is quite possibly the rawest album we've ever made and I think this particular track is as good an example of that as anything else on the record.